NFL Offseason Value Play: Patrick Mahomes For MVP (Again)

The face of the NFL is +700 at sportsbooks, a great price but requiring an 11-month investment
patrick mahomes celebrating

Patrick Mahomes has won the NFL’s MVP award twice in the last five seasons. Busting out our graphing calculators, we are able to ascertain that over the past half-decade, he has earned the MVP votes of the Associated Press 40% of the time.

Admittedly, we are selecting a very specific sample size that enhances the impression that Mahomes frequently wins MVPs. Those five years were bookended by Mahomes’ MVP seasons of 2018 and 2022. So if we look at just the four years prior to 2022, he dips to 25%. Same thing if we look at only the past four years.

In any given year, is the Chiefs’ superstar quarterback 40% likely to be named MVP? Probably not. But let’s go on the low end. Let’s say it’s 25%. That means if a sportsbook offers you anything better than +300 odds on Mahomes, you ought to take a shot.

As of this article’s publication some six months out from the start of the 2023 season, Mahomes is as high as +700 at FanDuel and Kambi-driven sportsbooks like Barstool and BetRivers to be named MVP again.

Mahomes to win MVP!PICK MAHOMES, +700

We aren’t touts here at US Bets — we’re just journalists covering the industry, making observations and asking questions. So here’s an observation disguised as a question that admittedly threatens to cross into tout territory: If you could bet on Mahomes each of the next seven years and only needed him to win MVP once to be profitable, you’d bet on him every year, wouldn’t you?

Getting GOAT-y already

Mahomes is the biggest star in the league. He’s the face of the NFL. He’s a two-time Super Bowl winner and two-time MVP. He’s not just a lock for the Hall of Fame at age 27 after only five seasons as a starter, but a player many feel could finish his career as the GOAT if he stays healthy and plays long enough.

He’s the best quarterback in the league right now — a subjective statement, but one any reasonable observer would make — and he’s in his physical prime with no reason to expect any hint of decline soon. But for some reason, the sportsbooks all have him between +650 and +700 and choose not to separate Mahomes from Joe Burrow and Josh Allen on the odds boards.

FanDuel has all three at 7/1. DraftKings goes Mahomes +650, Burrow +700, and Allen +750. PointsBet has Allen and Mahomes at +650 with Burrow at +700, while BetMGM lists Burrow and Mahomes at +650 and Allen at +750. Caesars has Mahomes at +650 and the other two at +750. At the Kambi books, it’s Mahomes and Burrow at +700 and Allen at +800.

You could make a case that there’s value on Burrow at 7/1 or Allen at 8/1, and we wouldn’t necessarily argue. There are longer shots worth your consideration as well: Justin Herbert is way too short at +700 at PointsBet, but maybe not at +1100 at Caesars Sportsbook. The 2022 runner-up, Jalen Hurts, is as high as 12/1.

Maybe Trevor Lawrence is worth a drizzle at 18/1 with Kambi, or Justin Fields at 40/1 at Caesars, or Trey Lance at 50/1 using Kambi odds. There’s also a veteran like Russell Wilson at 40/1 at FanDuel, Matthew Stafford at 50/1 at various books, or Kyler Murray at 65/1 at DraftKings (he’s as low as 33/1 elsewhere).

But the point here is not to dissect whether those QBs represent value. It’s to focus on Mahomes’ nearly undeniable value.

The myth of voter fatigue

Why are Burrow and Allen priced more or less the same as Mahomes when he’s won this award twice and they’ve each won it zero times and have just one runner-up finish (Allen in 2020) between them?

Maybe it’s because Mahomes has won it twice. The thinking goes that voters tire of giving MVP awards to the same person repeatedly and like to recognize new blood.

There may be some truth to voters feeling that way, but the results suggest they don’t actually vote that way. Fresh new faces win MVP when they deserve to win MVP. “Voter fatigue” is a myth.

Aaron Rodgers, an old face who’d won two MVPs in the first half of the 2010s, won back to back in 2020 and 2021. Rodgers was at his least beloved as a person in 2021 after being dishonest about his vaccination status, and he’d just won MVP the prior season, but he had the stats and led his team to a top seed, so he received the votes.

The NBA has seen back-to-back MVP winners seven times this century: Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, LeBron James (twice), Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic. And Jokic, as of Monday morning, was between -360 and -400 to win his third straight this season.

There hasn’t been a clear case of voter fatigue swinging an MVP award to the wrong player since Karl Malone beat out Michael Jordan in 1997. Sure, voters have arguably gotten other MVP decisions wrong. There’s nothing in modern history, however, to suggest Mahomes is at a disadvantage in the 2023 MVP voting because he won in 2022.

It’s simple, really: Until he shows signs of decline — which we shouldn’t anticipate for at least another three years, and maybe not for another 10 — Mahomes should be the favorite to win MVP. Playing at the level he’s performed at consistently for the past five seasons, it’s reasonable to project that he’ll keep winning once every three or four years.

Not every sports bettor likes to tie money up for 11 months, which is how far away we are from the next NFL Honors show. And bettors would understandably be reluctant to tie up money every year for, say, the next five years, repeating this bet based on the probability that it will pay off over the long term — that Mahomes will most likely win one or two more MVPs between now and when he’s 32 years old.

But if you’re OK with playing the long game and working annual long waits into that long game, +700 on Mahomes to win MVP is just too much value to resist. Whenever he’s healthy, he’s the best quarterback on the planet. (And even when he isn’t healthy, he still finds ways to win Super Bowls.)

Bet against Patrick Mahomes at your own peril. And yes, failing to bet on him counts, in the sphere of bankroll optimization, as betting against him.

Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images


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